Trigger Happy

Why is this week’s practice so hard to get into?

In the last two years through meditation practice, asana and body work, I’ve been able to locate and dive deep into the emotions living in my body: a well of grief stored in my neck, a knot of fear living deep in my belly, a reserve of shame and guilt tied up in my shoulder. I’ve started to understand the stories my body holds and release them one layer at a time.

So how come I can’t seem to get my head (and body) in the game this week?

This morning I was determined. So I thought of something that has been triggering me over the past few months.

Several months ago I agreed to a barter agreement with a web developer. In the first few meetings he was super enthusiastic, talking of building a long-term collaboration.  The relationship devolved quickly.  I tried to use it as an opportunity to test my practice, challenging myself to breathe before reacting and reflecting when I fell back into old, counterproductive communication patterns.

Since he flew off and went incommunicado I’ve had waves of anger when he comes to mind, adjectives I’d assigned to him burning in my mind.  So this morning I decided to dig in and work with it.

First I tried to summon the anger and locate it in my body.  I found it deep in my solar plexus. I breathed into that space. After a few deep breaths I realized that the way I’d experienced his behavior echoed my experience with my long unstable mom. For a moment my mind was lured off on a psychoanalytic tangent, but I brought my attention back to my solar plexus. I felt that particular quality of frustrated anger that my I used to feel in relation to my mom, really felt where it lived in my body.  I realized the judgments I’d assigned to this guy lived deep in that place, alongside the struggle with my mom’s illness.

I spent the rest of my practice drawing the breath between my belly and solar plexus, letting it linger in each space before drawing it back, letting go of the anger and another layer of my story.

Later I read up on the solar plexus, or Manipura Chakra. It’s thought to be the home of the identity, the refuge of the ego. It’s where we generate perceptions concerned with power, control, freedom, and the ease of being ourselves. It’s where the physical reactions to much of our external and emotional stimulus is formed. It made sense that’s where stories about parents, lineage, and control over our own destiny would live.

So how do we keep the balance between feeling our emotions and not getting caught up in analyzing them? Any tips?


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